What are C2 fractures?

Updated: Nov 21, 2018
  • Author: Igor Boyarsky, DO, FACEP, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Answer

Cervical spine (C-spine) injuries are the most feared of all spinal injuries because of the potential for significant deleterious sequelae. Correlation is noted between the level of injury and morbidity/mortality (ie, the higher the level of the C-spine injury, the higher the morbidity and mortality). Craniocervical junction injuries are the deadliest.

Atlantooccipital and atlantoaxial dissociation Atlantooccipital and atlantoaxial dissociation
Hangman fracture Hangman fracture

As many as 10% of unconscious patients who present to the emergency department following a motor vehicle accident (MVA) have C-spine pathology. MVAs and falls are responsible for the bulk of C2 fractures. [1]  The clinical manifestations range from asymptomatic to frank paralysis. This article focuses on the uniqueness of and the most common types of traumatic C2 (axis) fractures.


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